Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A simple way you can help solve and prevent crime in KC

One of my primary goals upon taking the Chief of Police position was for our department to become more efficient and effective through partnerships. I can’t think of a better example of that than our new WatchKC program. Since we launched it last month, owners of more than 400 surveillance cameras have committed to making Kansas City safer by registering those cameras with WatchKC.

One of the first things our detectives look for when investigating a crime is if there were any security cameras in the area that may have captured what happened. It’s an incredibly valuable investigative tool that is usually irrefutable in court. And because security camera technology is getting better and cheaper, more and more people and businesses are getting them.

When a crime happens, investigators have to canvass the area on foot looking to see if there are any nearby cameras in plain sight, often walking door-to-door. This process can take hours or even days, depending on how spread out the crime scene is and whether there were other events that may have led up to the crime.

The new WatchKC program allows residents and businesses to register with us that they have a security camera, and the address where it’s located. We’ll then put those locations on a map with each person’s contact information, and only specific investigative elements at KCPD will have access to that information. They will have no live access to the footage, but they will know where cameras are and whom to contact about possible recordings. Your registration information will be extracted from the submittal form and kept as secure as all other information maintained by KCPD.

WatchKC is a completely VOLUNTARY program, and it will save investigators so much valuable time and allow us to solve cases more quickly. Other cities have implemented similar programs and had great success.

Although a crime may not have happened at your home or business, your camera coverage may have captured evidence of a crime that occurred in your area. Your footage could be used to obtain vital suspect information that would help identify and convict criminals in your community. Residents often ask me and others on the department how they can help the police improve safety in Kansas City. Registering for WatchKC is a very easy but very powerful way for you to do so.

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